I heard a staggering figure this morning that in excess of $22.6 billion was collected in airline fees last year. The information comes from a firm in Wisconsin, IdeaWorks, and is quoted in a number of articles chronicling the rise and prevalence of said fees in the past few years.
In light of this figure, we thought addressing some ways to lessen the financial burden of travel, especially during peak summer months, would be of real value to our customers.
Fly With Carriers Who Don’t Charge Extra
Let’s reward the airlines who understand that we need to take clothes with us when we travel. JetBlue and Southwest come to mind. If you regularly fly out of an airport not serviced by either of these carriers, expand your airport search slightly – you may find that an extra half hour of drive time can net you a larger financial savings.
Pay For Your Bags Online
Some carriers including Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit offer passengers a discount if you pay for your bags online, prior to arriving at the airport.
Consider Shipping Your Luggage
Sending your belongings via a ground carrier or the US Postal Service may be a way to ease the cost-burden handed down by the airlines. Additionally, consider the convenience factor at the airport when you are not handling large amounts of luggage.
Keep Those Bags Light
Before packing, look at your luggage – if you plan on traveling with an old Samsonite hard sided suitcase, you might want to make a trip to your local luggage retailer. The newer bags are made of high-tech materials that seem to weigh less and less, which will only help your packing cause.
If you have exhausted all the previously mentioned ideas, and you still need to bring luggage, try to keep those suitcases as light as possible. Realistically assess if you need ALL the items initially packed – dropping a pair of jeans or shoes can help get the weight down. Next, before leaving, pull out the scale and get a preliminary weight on your bag. This will save you from costly surprises at the airport.
Get With the Program
Credit cards that is-Many of the airline branded cards offer free baggage or discounted luggage rates, as a perk of card membership. However, read the fine print. A sample annual fee of $349 hardly seems worth it, if you’ll only fly once this year.
There’s Always Your Carry-On
However, we caution you here…Starting out a long flight, after jockeying for overhead bin space may not set your trip off on the best note with fellow passengers. Additionally, the airlines are really starting to crack down on the size of the bags.
If baggage fees have you down, and seem insane, you can always drive or take the train (where luggage is still an allowed commodity (within reason) with ticket purchases…That being said, the investment in time spent driving (along with fuel and tolls) will likely far surpass any net savings on the offending bags.
Hopefully some of these tips can keep a few extra dollars in your pocket! We wish you a summer full of adventures.
Do you have any other tips that fellow travelers could benefit from? If so, feel free to comment below!